The word ‘maroon’ means fugitive or run-away and in Jamaica these group of people are descended from runaway slaves who established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica during slavery. Jamaica was captured by the British in 1655. It was captured from the Spanish colonists who fled the island leaving behind a large number of African slaves. The slaves did not allow themselves to be re-enslaved by the British so they escaped into the hilly mountainous regions of the island living amongst the Tainos who were the original natives of the island.
Among them was Nanny of the Maroons………….. sidebar….. I want to share this with you the readers before I continue on the subject of the Maroons. A couple of years ago I went to Jamaica in Portland to a place where the river and the sea meet to honor the river (OSUN and YEMOJA), with gifts that I had brought – I had brought several people along with me. While we were there and I was praying I saw a woman sitting across the river on a rock on the side, (dusk was setting in at this time), she was dark in complexion, the dress that she wore was almost cream-colored, she had a simple head tie on her head, she had a small upper body with big sized hips and buttocks. She was turned to the side and so I could not see her face clearly. My spirit reached out to her to inquire who she was. She told me that she was happy I was there appeasing the river and the sea, she also said that she saw me on my last visit there,and she was happy to see again and she welcomed me. She continued to say ‘my name is Nana’, she also said ‘I do not like the name Nanny but it was given to me because I was to look after their children’ she said ‘please tell people my name and whoever you tell this, they will believe you’. It was to be a couple of years after that I went to see a doctor in preparation for my trip to Nigeria, who happened to be Ghanaian. I ended up telling him what I had seen in Jamaica and before I could tell him that she said her name was Nana, he blurted it out before me and said ‘of course she was from Ghana, and that would have been her name’……..
According to Wikipedia Nanny was born in 1686 in Ghana, western Africa and was brought to Jamaica as a slave (she told me she came as an indentured servant). She and her brothers Accompong, cudjoe, Johnny and Quao ran away from their plantation. They said Nanny was married but she had no children. Both her and her brothers held several slave rebellions in Jamaica and it was said that she was such a fierce warrior that the British had to beg for peace. They also said Nanny was a great Obeah woman who knew many charms and spells and she used this to assist her to defeat the British. In 1739 the British governor in Jamaica signed a treaty with the maroons promising them 2500 acres in two different locations. They were to remain in their 5 main towns; Accompong, Trelawny, Mountain Top, Scots hall, Nanny Town. The government of Jamaica declared Nanny a national heroine in 1976.
The maroons are very important to our Jamaican history because it shows the resilience of our people and our fighting spirit that came with us all the way through the middle passage, all the way from Africa. Knowing that we were born as free people, possibly Kings and Queens from whence we came, the fight to keep our individual spirits alive becomes even more important. While other slaves who came through the same middle passage and were deployed in other countries accepted their fate, those in Jamaica did not. Although we are loved by many, there are those who criticize us because we are natural warriors but this has been with us since and before we were captured and taken from our home land. The maroons rebelled against colonialism, against enslavement, against discrimination and against racism. They preferred death over slavery and they used every inch of the fighting spirit that God gave to them to release themselves out of bondage. Because the maroons came from Africa and were used to the chaotic mountains, ridges, ravines and crevices which was the geographical structure of Jamaica it was easier for them to flee. The white men could not endure those rigid areas and so defeat was imminent for them.
The maroons were ferocious hunters and until today they are remarkable people. It is so strange because they all know each other when they see each other and I was told it was because of the eyes….Beenie Man, Jamaica’s one most loved and one of the best Jamaican entertainers ever, is maroon (I was Told) – and if you ever see one of his performances you will know that his ancestors walks with him strongly… watch his energy. You can find the maroons in St. Mary, St. Elizabeth, Trelawny and the upper hills of St. Andrew. They are very spiritual people, tradition is important to them, and they work closely with nature. The maroons have their own unique code that they use to communicate with each other, this was done using an instrument known as the Abeng (an African word meaning ‘conch shell’) The ones used by the maroons however, looks more like a cow’s horn and is still used today in the maroon communities of Jamaica. This instrument greatly assisted them during the rebellion and prevented their recapture by the slave masters. The Maroons, One of Jamaica’s Pride!!
Out of Many One People…..Jamaicas Moto
With all due respect. The people in the coloured picture above are defenitly not Jamaican. They are from Suriname (former Dutch Guyana in South America). They are from one of the seven Maroon tribes we have in Surinam, known as the Aluku (Boni), Kwinti, Matawai (Maruariërs), Ndyuka (Aukaners), Paramakaners (Paamaka) and Saramakaners (Saamaka) tribe. I love to read and learn about maroons all over cause I have much respect for them. But I must note that i,m suprised to see the first picture in this article. I know my Surinamese people, how they look, dance and dress. And it is… Read more »
Lady or genkleman nobody claimed that the picture depicted any maroon, neither did I write and said it was them! Thank you for the comment but the article is the post not the picture.
I HAVE MANY POST THAT HAS PICTURES THAT I LIKE AS OPPOSED TO MATCHING THEM TO THE POST!
Please note that Suriname has large numbers of marrons as well and they still exist in l;arge numbers over different parts of Suriname. They too never accepted to be enslaved and fled the plantations in large number. They are great warriors as well and till now Suriname is experiencing the fighters mentality of these people in social life. As of today their african descent, culture and traditions are unchanged and the whiteman could only ease them by presenting them treaties to achieve peace. Only Jamaica and Suriname has maroons as far as I know.
Thank you for that knowledge Glen, it is good to know. Maroons were fugitives, they are not a particular tribe as some people seem to think. These were those who rebelled and fled oppression, they weren’t afraid to fight. Other Caribbean or South American counties has these sets. In America the Seminole Indians did the same, Seminole I think means the same thing, It is a word derived from the Spanish word cimarron (accent on the last r) which means runaway. They were a group who resisted and fought against these terrible Europeans who sought to enslave/ murder them for… Read more »
[…] Traditional Maroon Dance (Source) […]
[…] Traditional Maroon Dance (Source) […]
More maroon conferences that are held…
never knew that, gwan talk Ty
Jan 6th is the celebration of the peace treaty…it is open to anyone and many tourist go…it is held every year in accompong…so any one who wants to learn more about maroons can go…
Panama nuh surprise me most ah dem ova deh ah Jamaicans
I am proud too…neva knew that it was in Suriname and Colombia
Yep…Guyana, panama too…
They come to ja yearly and we go there yearly too…
Years ago the smithsonian did a whole display on maroons…there is also a cd they did with maroon drumming that highlights the difference in drumming style between the different maroons in ja…
I am so proud of my culture…
Bolt??..explain why him suh fast
Unno fi memba seh maroons are not only in ja…they helped each other thru different countries…wid no internet or cellphones…bookman from ja that went to Haiti was maroon too…so is bolt…
Dat coulda all di ganja…lol
You can see it in the eyes, with the men mostly, slightly red, look pon Beene close and as Ty point out Buju…look inna dem eyes
Most of the maroon hiding places were well camouflaged and heavily guarded…the Nannytown settlement was only found after a former maroon that was ousted from it was paid to bring in the British troops…the traitor was of course killed and after fierce fighting, the settlement was moved…. There are many caves and hidden paths… If you are ever in st. Ann, there is a place called laughing waters, that is now a tourist attraction…it is a waterfall by the ocean that is shaped like a jacuzzi with cramping cold water…it was a stopping place that maroons would take slaves that… Read more »
Makes sense because some people attribute jerk to the maroons and to the tainos
Maroons are so mixed these days…maroons are a mixture of runaway slaves and indentured servants that lived in hiding…yes most were of African heritage, but there are East Indians, Chinese, and whites too…we often leave out in the slavery discussion that there were whites who were indentured servants that had to work along with slaves… This was one of the strategies that was used, because maroons had whites working with them, along with blacks who could “pass”…they were able to dress in soldiers uniforms after capturing and killing them and infiltrate their camps…. Also there was lots of mixture with… Read more »
Obara wondering if the guy that sing a yah suh nice is a maroon? Is there any single trait that we can use to say that this person is/isnt a maroon.
When I was growing up I remember seeing a woman who smoked but put the part with the fire in her mouth. Do the maroons do this??
whey yuh mean like miself Cami, yuh maroon too?
Thank you Cami, I did not know that
I had a vision once about some Seminole Indians in Florida, I had no idea of these people or had even herd the name before the dream, but someone had come to my dream and told me of the Seminole Indians and how similar they were to our maroons, before the dream ended the messenger advised to look it up on the internet…I was surprised at being told to look on the internet by a spirit but I did and what I found was fascinating, here is a small piece The only Native American tribe to never be overtaken by… Read more »
yeah man Beenie ah maroon, if yuh see him fadda Bragga, before he died, straight Maroon
Thank you Cami my love, Major Mackerel?…ok, they all ave a similar look to them…amazing!!
The tainos/arawarks are the primary source for that “pretty hair”. I was once told that die-hard Maroons don’t mate with outsiders like me self so that they can preserve their Pure African roots, while preserving that of their Arawark ancestors too; since they are the only ones with any DNA trace of them.
Morning Obara and all. I know this post has long passed, but I have to read to catch up with you guys.
Obara, thanks for the additional tidbits on “Nana”; now I know why beenie man make that unique sound along with major mackerel (said to be maroon too)…come to think of it.
I’m here catching up on you’re fascinating stories.
Lata MTH, have a good day!
Ah today ah Nunu interview??…
Fam, have a meeting which ends at 12 noon (Jamaica time). I will pop in when I get the chance. Nunu when is your interview? I am fasting today as I had promised…
I dont need to sing Obara praises, I have never met the woman, but she posts, responds to our emails, calls and text all the while juggling her duties as a wife and mother. The posts about the candle, the #3 etc are some senior post. A lot of info was shared.
Bubblez, it was just this morning as I settled on the bus to get to work, I flipped out my phone to see if there was a new post. The I saw that it was a new month then I said, ‘rawtid, Teacher nuh sey shi a Aries, mi nuh memba shi sey which day a har birthday. Suh the taught come to mi sey, wi cudda group up an sen a gift. Cause mi know ef trouble ketch mi right dis minute a Obara wi a guh call.
Good morning Bubblez!!
MTH truth you talking…Obara is very helpful and humble. she is here for us on the blog an off. Praying and instructing us in embracing our spirituality. She took the time to personally call me so I can only imagine how much a wi she call and instruct. I think a love gift would be nice.
good morning all peace n blessings from eva since people have asked if im maroon an i am sad to say i don’t know. my elders don’t talk or explain we ancestory them just close mouth sah. glad to read the info that Obara an Ty have shared. Knowledge is power
Well, mi nuh know how di class feel.
mi know annuh fi mi feel cute, MTH, but ah suh mi tan lol
Teacher I never for you to fell ‘cute’. All am I saying as rich as Oprah is ppl gi har bday gifts. YU dey yah wid wi, morning noon and night. Suh if wi chump up a ting an sey Teach hold a vacation or guh to the spa. If wi were to go any where wi wudda haffi pay. Some site fi access likkle info yu haffi have up yu credit card. Even if wi guh visit a church wi throw collection, suh why mi caan gi wi Beloved Teacher a gift. IJS
lol, @MTH, mi daughter fix it fi free, lawd man, mi shame…lol
Bloggers and peepers, I know you come to this site time and time again to learn or be entertained. I am sure every single one of us has benefitted in some way… I have a thought……Just like how we (in Jamaica) have Teacher’s Day where we acknowlede our teachers and give our children gifts for their teachers, I suggesting, that we contact OBARA MEJI (alone, numo, only) and send a love gift for her (directly to her, NUH BADDY ELSE). Teacher says she is an aries, that means she recently had a birthday, she never said which day, hence I… Read more »
Yes and don’ you love it?…I love to learn, love ittttttt!!
Mi whena type an neva si Ty’s response. So much knowledge.
MTH, Ty, ansa yuh uppa top, lol…I never believed the catch bullets with har butt, so I thank you Ty for the clarification..
Buju?, it mek sense, him look like dem, Kikongo is spoken by Kumina people which are Bantu people who you will find on the eastern side of the Island Saint Thomas, these people came from what is now known as Zaire but was once called Republic of Congo, I do not know if the name change again they have changed the names in recent times, but Kikongo is spoken by them, they still speak it there
Teach what about catching bullets with her butt? I remembered when I used to go to Linstead for summer holidays, there was this girl. She was jet-black with long curly black hair. She was very graceful and from a young age, you could see that she was powerfully built. Now that I’m looking back, she had the same eyes like Beenie Man. The girl’s family didn’t do anything special to be set apart to say that Maroons did this, or maroons did that. All is all, I thought maroons were just some very dark skinned ‘pretty hair’ people.
Yes, The Nana I saw was our Nanny, but Ty, just giving us more information on the name MTH
I have maroon blood, not sure on which side and i knew it not until I was told by a very competent diviner!, Good morning my family!
Mawning Ty. Just for clarity…Wasn’t ithe Nana that Obara saw at the river the saw Nanny our Heroine? There was another Nana or are they one and the same…Maybe Nana was a popular name then, like how we have Sharon, Carlene, Pauline, Marlene….
Greetings Teacher and fellow classmates. This blog serves as not only a place to learn about Spirituality, but also about history. It was an awwww moment when u explained how she got the name.
I admire Beenie’s energy, charisma and his performing skills. Who would have thought that he was a aligned spiritually. Maybe that’s why Bounty could never derailed his career.
Teach always heard that Nanny was able to catch bullets with her booty…Any truth to that???
Buju is also maroon…buju means breadfruit in maroon…the maroons speak kikango and kromanti alot…
Mama Nanny was a powerful woman…it thought that she could manipulate energy fields…she did not catch the bullets but could redirect the trajectory…
Codjoe first signed the peace treaty…it took Nanny another full year before she signed…I am from her line..
Nana is another fierce warrior from Ghana who was from the same tribe as Nanny who fought the British in Ghana…her full name is Nana Yaa Asantewa…Nana is also used as a term of enderment and more thought to mean queen mother…
Reblogged this on Embracing Spirituality.
I am Jamaican, I live in Montego Bay and Maroon blood runs through my veins though! If u ever see a picture of my great grandma! she lives in Maroon Town, St James which is near to Elizabeth and I have attended the Maroon festival before! One Love From Jamaica! Guidance an’ Respek!
who said she was from nigeria, read again she was from ghana
Nana is from Ghana not Nigeria so wouldn’t they believe in lwas?